Why England have selected Gareth Batty

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“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

At the age of 38, we have genuinely never been fitter in our entire life. We had however assumed that our chance of playing international cricket had passed.

Not so!

Almost as if England were Australia and Gareth Batty were a gnarly old batsman rather than a spin bowler, the selectors have put their faith in middle-age.

Batty was born in 1977. He’s only three weeks younger than our mate Tim and Tim is the oldest person we know (except for all the people we didn’t go to school with, obviously.)

Tim says he hobbles around hunched over for the first few minutes after getting out of bed these days due to the pain in his ankles. He has even floated the idea of “warming up” before playing squash to prevent injuries. We put him straight on that. We’re not in our 60s. We don’t need to start stretching and all that crap.

But you get the gist. Gareth Batty is almost as old as Tim and therefore quite aged for a sportsman.

If you’re wondering why England have selected a man of Tim’s age, the answer is obvious. The players aren’t really going to be going out in the evenings in Bangladesh due to a combination of fearfulness and security measures. There will be no gallivanting. No evening shenanigans. The younger players will therefore be looking to a man who already has extensive experience of watching Netflix in his pyjamas for guidance.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Telegragh: “Every now and then – perhaps once a decade on average – an English batsman surfaces, one who is destined for a long and distinguished career.”

    No pressure, Haseeb….

    As for Batty, 38 is quite young for an old man, cricket-wise. He’s no Wilfred Rhodes or Bert Ironmonger

    1. Having watched (bits of) nearly a session of a first class match this season, i would like to point out that Mr Duckett has scored absolutely nothing 100% of the time i’ve seen him bat. The selectors have therefore made a huge mistake, as I occasionally watch the games on TV, and will presumably doom Mr Duckett to failure.

  2. Flamin’ Nora Batty, KC, you’ve made me feel ancient at 45. Just give him some of that Wellman vitabiotic gear that James Anderson promotes and help him on to the plane

    1. We apologise. We can’t address our extraordinary youthfulness except through patience. Sadly, like Tim, you will always be slightly older.

  3. Lots of comments that they should have picked Leach or Rayner, presumably from people who haven’t seen much of Leach or Rayner. While Rayner (according to our own Ged, who has seen him) isn’t ideal for the SC given its lack of bounce, I think I understand why ‘the Taunton Vettori’ is being overlooked for this tour.

    Ever since The Great Kerriganning of 2013, England’s selectors have been petrified of fielding a young green spinner. If he gets knocked out of the park, they think, that’s it, he’s broken and will be unselectable for ever and ever, our men. Better an Australian-esque gnarl-dog, who’s unlikely to be terrified by a bit of tap and doesn’t have much of a career left to ruin anyway.

    Also I suspect that Captain Cook doesn’t really know what to do when his spinner gets clouted around a bit, so they need a spinner who knows his own mind. Batty’s a captain too. My worry is that he and Cook might strongly disagree on e.g. field placings and fail to back down.

    Did I say ‘worry’? I think I might mean ‘hope’.

    1. I live in hope that Kerrigan will one day semi-triumphantly return to international cricket (for a subcontinental tour, probably) a bit like Siddebottom and Swann.

      1. ‘Siddebottom’ is a typographical error, I was referring of course to Ryan J(ay) Sidebottom.

      1. Ollie’s action looks fine to me.

        But then, if you’d ever seen my action, you’d realise that my “action is fine” benchmark is set rather low.

      2. Cricinfo’s profile page for Holmes says he’s been pursuing a law degree.

        Just about the saddest story imaginable. What a waste.

    1. We’re not really against any of these things in themselves. We do however believe that you should be ‘good to go’ at any moment without needing to do any kind of limbering up.

  4. On the other end of the spectrum, whichever of Duckett or Hales plays in the first Test will be (I think) the first England cricketer younger than me to play a Test match.

      1. I think Dan M probably meant Hameed. Very confusing…so many surnames starting with Ha.

        Might I suggest win the toss and bowl this morning, Sam? Thought your lot might benefit from my local observation and experience. Otherwise might not occur to them.

      2. Glorious sunshine in the Westcountry this morning, Ged. My train is heading into a big grey cloud with Chris Woakes’ name on it.

        Come on you Bears.

        Did I say that already?

    1. Batty could become the last England cricketer older than me to play in a Test. I think that’s Strauss, currently.

    1. Your avatar gives the impression that at least one of those pints exceeded 5%.

      Extraordinary scenes.

    1. Tempted to write about something completely different next to ensure Sam’s trademark ‘in other news’ comment can be deployed a moment after it’s gone up.

  5. In other news…

    …just as I predicted, Surrey won the toss, elected to bat and have got off to a bit of a flyer in the gloom.

    1. Hannon-Dalby’s flappy action might make him look potty as a parrot but . . .

      . . . his windmill is powering the lights

      1. In other news…

        …your book arrived yesterday, EC, just in time for me to present it to our visiting friends from Saffron Walden today. It looks splendid.

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